A digital mirror to get pretty, in butt-ugly packaging

August 30, 2010 by Dave Haynes

I am not a regular reader of PremiumBeautyNews (shocking, I know), but stumbled on this piece about the French hypermarket retailer Carrefour testing an interactive shelf-edge application in two of its new Carrefour Planet concept stores.

Thanks to the electronic mirror, consumers just need the swipe of a make-up product barcode, to virtually “try on” cosmetics, get personalized recommendations and even solicit advice from friends via the Internet or mobile phone before they buy.

Actually named Virtual Mirror, the device has been designed by EZface, an Israeli start-up, which previously created the Virtual Mirror web application already used by L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline New York, Garnier and CoverGirl.

For the consumer, using the Virtual Mirror is as simply as snap a digital self-portrait using the mirror’s camera, then scan in the barcode of the beauty product of their choice, and virtually apply it to their face, eyes cheeks or lips. The mirror Kiosk then automatically combines skin tone, facial features, and selected product colour to produce a realistic simulation of a makeover. The device also suggests complementary products and specific shades that best fit the customer.

I am utterly clueless as to whether women would use this sort of thing, but it’s getting shoppers looking at and trying product, which I assume is a good thing.

What strikes me, above all else, is the butt-ugly look of this thing. L’Oreal is one of the planet’s best known and marketed cosmetic brands, and I have to assume  image is really, really important.

This thing looks like something you’d use to renew a driver’s license in Kyrgyzstan.

Two words: industrial design.

On another note, Carrefour’s stores of the future opened last week do not seem to make much of a nod, at all, to digital displays 0 at least judging by the narrative and images I dug up.

Leave a comment